HomeCharities & FundraisersSMHS Senior Lauren Hickey Named Semi-Finalist for Spotlight Program

SMHS Senior Lauren Hickey Named Semi-Finalist for Spotlight Program


San Marino High School student Lauren Hickey has made it to the semi-finals of a nationally-acclaimed scholarship and arts training program for teens.

She has applied every year for four years to The Music Center’s annual Spotlight Program for classical voice, and this is the first time she’s made it this far. Only 16 candidates are chosen in each of the seven categories: acting, ballet, non-classical dance, classical voice, non-classical voice, classical instrumental and jazz instrumental.

“The fact that I was able to get in really surprised me,” said Hickey, 18.

She chose Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Vedrai, carino” and Ernest Chausson’s “Les Papillons” when she applied this year. The first is a humorous scene from the Italian opera “Don Giovanni” in which a woman’s boyfriend has been beaten up, and she promises to soothe his wounds with her love. The latter is a beautiful French song about butterflies, Hickey described.

Hickey, along with approximately 1,100 others, went through two rounds of preliminary auditions. The final round for all 111 semi-finalists is in April, and all finalists will take part in a performance at Walt Disney Hall in June.

The Music Center’s Spotlight program awards more than $100,000 in cash scholarships annually. Rachel Moore, president and CEO of The Music Center, said they are committed to helping all students gain outstanding arts learning experiences, regardless of whether they ultimately become performing arts professionals, and the Spotlight program is an important part of that effort.

“In this case, we are not only helping students advance their journey as they explore their professional goals, but also offering them experiences, coaching and feedback to develop the critically important life skills that help them achieve success,” she explained.

For example, Hickey has had two to four lessons a week with singing and acting coaches because of her involvement. She also has to research every song to understand its meaning and the history behind it, as well as complete diction work since the songs are not in English.

Classical Voice became an interest for Hickey when she was in the fifth grade when her choir teacher at the time recommended she get a singing teacher.

“I kept up with it because it’s so beautiful,” she said.

Hickey is applying to colleges with high quality classical voice or musical theater programs, but a top choice has not emerged for her yet.


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